Cruising Notes

The adventure before the dementia

After turning off of the Thames at Brentford everything should be OK. No more big river, no more fighting the tide running close to the speed of the boat, no more pointing the boat 30 degrees off of where you intend to go. Well it didn't go quite like that.

The Grand Union Canal is joined by the river Brent (hence Brentford) and it had been in flood and brought down a whole load of silt. So first we rescued a wide beam boat stuck on the silt, then we got stuck, but got off again. The next day the boat in front of us got stuck, and going forward to help so did we. It took both of us about 15 minutes to get going again. But we made it to the Hanwell lock flight and set on up leaving the Brent to it's own devices below us.

This part of the canal is pretty bad, shallow, full of rubbish and far from pleasant, you travel as fast as you dare (without getting the rubbish round the propeller) just to be out of it. Still a few miles later normality resumed.

This structure is alongside the Hanwell lock flight. The blocked off holes are there in case of fire. The plan is that the fire-fighters can break through and get water from the canal if needed.

One of the things we had missed being on the Thames was the ability to harvest. Judy turns purple around the gills at this time of the year seeming to take at least 2 meals a day from blackberries, plums and apples. Sloes were, however, the first victims. We got enough for a few litres of sloe gin and sloe vodka. I'm told that when the sloes are fully infused you remove them, but instead of just discarding them it;s better to mix them with a little cake mix and a lot of chocolate to make chocolate biscuits.

Most boats are pretty nondescript, ours included, and are refered to as “clonecraft”.

This one was not. I didn't even look to see if it had a licence.

Now Mermaids are the stuff of legends but interestingly they are alive and well on the canals.

However this is also within the area where houseboats abound. Basically if the length is 70' or less and the beam is less than 14' you can float around on the Grand Union canal.

There is also a situation where some of the newer types of lifeboats are being retired and passing into private hands and being turned into dwellings. Well you can be sure that the engine hasn't done many hours.

Not really to my taste but probably makes a very secure home, and that is becoming more important these days.

After all there are strange beasts running around these days.

I don't suppose the crocodiles actually read such notices, so they probably keep on swimming regardless.

I blame it all on this boat for introducing the problems.

I think they may have imported some jungle as well.

I don't normally delve further than the canals or rivers for cruising notes, but I will make an exception here. We were invited to a birthday party for a 2 year old relative who is mad keen on trains. This was his birthday cake.

Made by his grandmother. It was absolutely delicious.

However, back to the canal, What canal were we on?

Oh yes, It's called the Grand Union these days. How times change. After all in those days locks had lock keepers and lock keepers had humble cottages to live in.

Mind you money is a bit tighter these days. Whereas the old canal companies could change a set of lock gates in a weekend our current lords and masters don't seem to be quite as good at maintenance. I guess it's because they have to promote health and safety.

See what I mean, a dangerous lock edge collapse safely barricaded off to prevent injury.

We are back in our winter moorings sorting out the boat (not much to do) and our ageing, creaking bodies (not much to do but will probably take months working our way through the NHS)

I leave you with this picture just to show you how well maintenance is done to keep the canals safe and vibrant in today’s High Tech world.

Have fun